The world of gaming has lost a true legend today, and our hearts sink in sadness. Ralph H. Baer helped to develop the first video game console, which was known as the “Brown Box.” The Brown Box was licensed to Magnavox in 1972, and the following year was sold to the public as the Odyssey.
Baer’s work didn’t stop there, however. He would go on to create what became the basis of what we know as “light gun” technology (it was actually the first ever video game peripheral). If you still relish the experience of shooting a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Zapper in Duck Hunt, you can thank Baer for that.
Later on, with the help of Howard Morrison, he would go on to develop the electronic memory game Simon that many of us grew up with in the late 70s and early 80s. Luckily, a new generation of children can enjoy Simon as Milton Bradley/Hasbro is still producing the game.
And if that wasn’t enough, Baer’s ideas and concepts that sprung forth from the Brown Box and Odyssey also led to the development of Pong over at Atari (and later a lawsuit brought forth by Magnavox). The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2006, at the age of 83, Baer was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush and on April 1, 2010 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Ralph H. Baer was 92.